Bloganuary Daily Prompt for January 17, 2023: Describe the happiest day of your life.
From the Journal of Nicolette Flores
Our writing teacher seems to have run out of creative ideas for us, now that the end of the year approaches, and she’s filling time by pulling out dusty prompts from an old book of hers. I think the book must be titled, “101 Writing Prompts for Students Who Don’t Like to Write and Don’t Like to Think.”
Take today’s prompt, for example: Describe the happiest day of your life.
I get that description is the cornerstone of good writing, but how can anyone who likes to write, or likes to think, settle on any one day as “the happiest”? What does that even mean?
For example, is “the happiest day” a day in which one’s feelings of happiness are the most intense? Or is it a day where only happy feelings are felt?
I’ve never had a day that has been purely happy. Every day contains a tiny bit of sadness or anger or embarrassment or awkwardness, along with happiness, calmness, acceptance.
And the days when I feel “happiness” most intensely are, usually, the days when all of my feelings are the most intense. Hardly the recipe for a “happiest day of my life.”
Besides, anything can be changed through the retelling. I don’t think it’s a question that encourages honesty, or depth of perception, or, as my grandma used to like to say when referring to good works of art, nuance.
For example, let’s take last Thursday.
If I wanted to gloss over the surface, I could describe it as a “happiest” day because I earned the highest score for the ball toss at the Football Team Sports Day, my best friend was there, and I discovered a new crush. Happy, right?
But let’s look beyond the surface. I earned highest score because not everyone showed up. Where was Kaito? How come he ditched Sports Day when he said he’d be there? Did he not want to compete against me? It felt weird to win and not have him there to cheer me on.
Asuka was there, and she looked at me with so much pride. She really is my best friend. She never misses a chance to encourage me.
And when I saw here there, smiling, I felt new feelings stir up. And I’m still kind of confused and mad about them. Because they’re the feelings of a crush. Yes, I now have two crushes, and one of them is on my oldest friend, my very best friend.
So, last Thursday, even though a lot of good things happened, and even though I was happy, I can’t count it as a “happiest” day. Maybe I could describe it as “my most confused day.”
Asuka came over that evening, and I half expected that my new feelings would just be temporary, that they’d wash through me when I showered after Sports Day. But instead, they settled into me.
I don’t know how I feel about having a crush on my oldest friend. Maybe confused?
Especially when I still like Kaito.
So, OK, a day full of successes and new discoveries might not be the happiest. But what about a day where you’re feeling really good, you get to eat a fresh slice of matcha cake that your dad baked, your first crush stops by unexpectedly, and you go to the boardwalk together where you take a ride in the Tunnel of Love?
Surely that would be a “happiest day”?
The cake was so good! I’d just finished a long run on the beach, and I’d come out of the shower. Dad had baked the cake that afternoon, and it had been cooling in the fridge, and it tasted so amazing! Flavors of green tea, chocolate, vanilla, all combining in each bite! OK, at that moment, I was really happy.
Then Kaito dropped by. Whenever he does these pop-ins, I start thinking, Maybe he does really like me!
Our house is so small, and Dad always seems to be in whichever room we’re in, so I suggested we take a walk.
We ended up down at the boardwalk.
Just on a lark, I said, “So want to go on a ride?” And we found ourselves in line for the Tunnel of Love.
It could’ve been amazing. It was dark. There were these soft laser-show lights moving in sync with the cheesy music. It smelled like cotton candy. It was just all these stereotypical teen-romance things at once. I sort of leaned into the atmosphere, flirting a little bit and trying to make eye contact with Kaito.
But he pulled away.
When we got outside, he took out his phone. “Gotta go,” he said, after checking his texts.
“Well, OK. Thanks for stopping by,” I said, wishing that none of that had happened and that I were still at home, enjoying my dad’s cake or maybe reading a good book. Anything but dying of embarrassment at the exit of the Tunnel of Love.
After Kaito left, I walked around the park and cleaned up trash. Literally, I felt like I was cleaning up my own trash, all these messed up feelings of self-doubt and awkwardness and confusion. I dumped them all.
Then I got out my journal and started writing. I didn’t write about “the happiest day.” I wrote about everything. About how new feelings can rise up, in the midst of disappointment. About how we can feel so many things at once: happiness, grief, excitement, hope, despair, fear, courage, and, yes, confusion.
There’s no such thing as a “happiest day;” I’m convinced of it. And I think it’s even the wrong thing to be looking for. We’re alive, and being alive means feeling. Even if we’re feeling mindful and calm, we’re still feeling. I’m not striving for happy days. I want to fill my life with alive days.
Somebody ask me to describe “my most alive day,” and I will respond, “this very moment.” That’s my intention, and I’m setting it now.